Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney Seems Disconnected From Reality

I love cops. I grew up the son of a cop. I have a deep and profound respect for the job they do. But you know what scares me a little bit? Law enforcement leaders who insist on thinking of themselves as soldiers and not peace officers. Who insist that they need to be kitted out as though they were patrolling in Fallujah and not some of the safest communities in the world.

Who insist on proliferating a sense of paranoia among their colleagues.

What I took before to be nothing more than some intemperate words said in an emotional moment now seems to be a serious disconnect from reality.

Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney is guilty of all those things, I think. After the tragic shooting of Fargo Police Officer Jason Moszer, Laney went in front of the media and said “we’re being hunted” and referred to law enforcement officers as “warriors.”

I called him out on it in a widely shared post here on SAB, and earlier this week he showed up for a softball interview from Valley News Live’s Chris Berg (seriously, they were all but holding hands) to respond to me.

Laney didn’t do himself or his argument any favors, I think. What previously seemed to be nothing more than some intemperate words said in an emotional moment now seems to be a serious disconnect from reality.

Laney defended his “hunted” comments by saying that he wasn’t talking locally (I should hope not, Laney’s department has never seen a death in the line of duty and the last Fargo Police Department death before Moszer was over a century ago) but rather nationally.

But even if Laney was talking about national trends, it’s worth noting that 2015 was one of the safest years for cops in the history of the United States of America, and that year sits at the bottom of a generational downward trend in law enforcement deaths:

police

Keep in mind as you look at those numbers thst the U.S. population has grown by nearly 24 million since 1970. Meaning that we have seen a decline in the number of cop deaths even as our country becomes more populous.

Yet, thanks to sensational news clverage and self serving rhetoric from law enforcement politicians like Laney, I am not sure many in the public are even aware of this trend.

At best, Laney just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s not aware of the data, and is instead informing himself only with anecdotes and the heated political rhetoric which has surrounded the #BlackLivesMatter protest movement.

At worst, Laney knows better and is purposefully fomenting hysteria among the law enforcement community and the public at large.

Either way, it sure isn’t good. It’s unfortunate, in fact. The role of law enforcement should be peace. Laney’s goal seems to be war, and not just in the “warrior cops” sense but also politically against those he perceives as the enemies of law enforcement.

By the way, if you want to learn more about the problems with Laney’s “warrior cop” philosophy, start here.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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